Growing Shallots and Making Quiche.

I’m thinking about changing my blog name … to “oh boy am I still learning about gardening!”.  A bit too wordy though.  It sure does convey how I feel at the moment!  I love gardening, both vegetable and flower.  I love learning new things, too.  It’s the making mistakes part that I wouldn’t mind skipping over.

I planted shallots for the first time this year.  They did really well, and grew at a nice pace and to a good size.  You *should* pull them out of the ground once the greens start to die.  I left them a while longer, hoping they would grow even bigger.  They did grow bigger, but they also got wet.  Very, Very wet.  Have I mentioned (about a million times) the terrible weather we had this summer?  So I’ve made a note to myself that in the future, I am  to pull them as soon as the greens die.  I guess I’m lucky that most of them are still usable. Some of them I had to use right away.   I was sad to have to dump some, though.  I hate waste.

A great way to use a lot of shallots?  Caramelize them, and make a quiche! Everyone in our family likes quiche (yay!).   I make my own crust – it doesn’t take long and I think it’s worth it.  The time it takes to caramelize the shallots was also worth it to get the sweet flavor; lots of butter, on a low heat, for a long time.  Even non onion eaters can’t resist the caramelized flavor!

The Gourmand Mom blog is one I follow and I love to use her recipes – even if it’s to give me ideas or guidelines.  Quiche is a good example; I like how she puts the additions in first, then the cheese, and then the egg mixture. It’s simple and comes out great.  My crust recipe was given to me by a good friend years ago (thank you Leah!).  It’s a keeper.  I use a mixture of whole wheat & white flour, so it comes out darker, but the taste is still delicious.

Have you shared any recipes lately?

Happy baking!

American Pie Dough (that really is the name of it!)
for an 8 or 9 inch single pie shell
By Christopher Kimball with Eva Katz

My only adjustment is to use ¾ cup whole wheat flour & ½ cup white flour

1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting dough
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
6 tablespoons (3 oz.) chilled unsalted butter, cut into ¼ inch pieces
4 tablespoons (2 oz.) chilled all-vegetable shortening (in Ireland I use Cookeen)
3-4 tablespoons ice water

Mix first 3 ingredients. Scatter butter pieces, then shortening and mix until cornmeal texture. I use my fingers. Really, it isn’t hard and doesn’t take long.  Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of water over mixture and fold in. Shape into ball, then flatten into 4 inch wide disk.  Dust lightly with flour, wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

Caramelized Shallot Quiche
Based on The Gourmand Mom’s Quiche Lorraine

2 1/2 cups peeled & sliced shallots
3 tablespoons butter
2 cups Emmenthaler cheese, grated
1 1/4 cup whole milk
3 eggs
Salt & Pepper
Pinch of nutmeg

Caramelize the shallots in the butter. Cook low and slow.  They shouldn’t brown like sauteing, but turn translucent first and then slowly turn darker in color.  I usually cook 30 minutes to 45 minutes (while the crust is in the fridge).

Line the crust with foil and bake in 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 15 minutes, remove the foil and bake a further 5 minutes.  While the crust is baking, whisk the eggs & milk, and add salt, pepper, and nutmeg.  When the crust is finished, layer with the caramelized shallots, then the cheese, then the egg mixture.  Bake for 35 – 45 minutes.

Shallots hung to dry out.

Shallots hung out to dry.

Shallots drying out.

Shallots drying out.

Shallots cleaned up and looking much better.

Shallots cleaned up and looking much better. (This is one of my favorite bowls; it was a wedding gift that was hand painted for us.)



Whole wheat & white flour crust in the making.

Whole wheat & white flour crust in the making.

Tidying up the crust.

Tidying up the crust.

Emmenthaler Cheese.

Emmenthaler Cheese.

Caramelized shallots.

Caramelized shallots.

Caramelized shallots quiche.

Caramelized shallot quiche.

Some Black-eyed Susan flowers (Rudbeckia hirta) from the garden (and another bowl of shallots!).

Some Black-eyed Susan flowers (Rudbeckia hirta) from the garden and another bowl of shallots!

A summer peak at the garden: Peas, Potatoes, Parsnips, Carrots, Cukes, & Chard!

When the weather is nice in Ireland, the weather is super nice in Ireland!  We were finally free to spend a full day in the garden!  I love working in the garden, everything about it: pulling weeds, gathering rocks, planting, weeding, watering (ok, this doesn’t have to be done so much here), getting rid of slugs, more weeding.  I just love being outside and being a part of a living, growing, and changing garden.    We’ve been “growing our garden” over the past two years.  It is in a continuous state of change and development!  There have been some learning experiences, too.  I have a few plants & trees that aren’t happy where they are and I need to find out what will make them healthy again, possibly just changing their location.

Our raised vegetable beds are starting to look productive.  I think the veggies are slow growing this year.  We could use more heat, for the plants and for me!  My shallots are the happiest! They at least look impressive.  Our potatoes are growing nicely, too.  I’ve taken some pictures of the baby growth of what I have so far.  I like tracking it from a young stage to full bloom.  You should see carrots, garlic, onions, and parsnips.  My other beds have zucchini & pickling cukes in them, but they didn’t get photographed.

Walking away from the raised beds will bring you toward another part of the yard,  what we fondly refer to as the Fruit Orchard.  I was happy to see the start of apples and, for the first time, pears!  Our two year old blueberry bushes are also looking very good, and are full of fruit.   We’ve put a net over the strawberries in the hopes of keeping out the birds. I’m not sure if it is good enough for this job, but time will tell.    We’ve added bits and pieces on to this garden continuously!  I think it is almost at the right size.  Our plans include a  few more changes over the next year, and then it will be “done”!

Although called the Fruit Orchard, we do also have vegetables in this section.   We have Pacific Purple asparagus, but only 4 plants have survived over the past two years.  So we just expanded that section by adding 10 Grolim white asparagus.  I know it’s a long slow process with asparagus, but hopefully it’ll be worth it!  This year my husband planted peas for me.  He used some chicken wire and bamboo sticks for the plants to grow on.  Slugs love pea plants, by the way… I visit the plants every evening to save them from being someone else’s dinner!  We are attempting to grow some watermelon this year.  Ireland doesn’t have the best climate for this fruit, but I guess I have to prove that to myself!

The final set of pictures are just showing my boxwood hedging.  I finally cleaned them up a bit.  They really needed some trimming.  Actually, I just had to take some pictures of the beds that I had spent hours weeding!  My star flower of the moment is my Allium (purple sensation)!  I love it!  I’m afraid that the garden it’s in is not thriving. My hydrangea is only now showing signs of life after some compost shock treatment, and my Japanese Maple has been ruined by being in the line of our (gale force) wind path.  Big sigh, lots more work to do!

I hope you are enjoying steps of progress in your garden, too!


These are pictures of  our back yard, including the raised beds and potato beds. I have to say that the kids have really helped in expanding the stone pathway. It’s a tedious job, but I love how it looks! (and it’s character building, right?)

Here are some pictures of the vegetables growing in the raised beds: shallots, garlic, rainbow chard, onions, carrots, and a very fuzzy picture of parsnips.

Pictures from our fondly called “Fruit Orchard”: starting with apples, pears, blueberries, and strawberries.

Pictures of our Pacific Purple asparagus, and peas.

Picture of trimmed box wood plants (in Rose garden, which will hopefully have roses soon!) Followed by pictures of Allium (purple sensation).